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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2234181-Jim
Rated: ASR · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2234181
Weird Tales Contest Entry October 2020
Jim had stood silently by his wife as the eulogy was read. Stoically he waited as hands were shaken, condolences given, and goodbyes tearfully said. He even managed to softly pat his wife on the back as she climbed into the back of the limo.

Not that she noticed.

But now, he screamed to the heavens, asking “why?” Demanding to know the reason for his damnation. He cursed, he cried, he bellowed. And yet, with all his shouting, not one answer was given, not one good reason for his torment. Finally, with nothing left to say, he hung his head and tried to think of what to do next.

“Are you done?”

Jim whirled around. A woman sat on the gravestone behind him. She was dressed in a suit of days gone by - a knee length skirt, shapely legs, pumps with wide heels, her hair done up with soft curls framing her face - she sat with her legs crossed powdering her nose. As beautiful as she was, she was also just as transparent as he. “You were left behind too? Did you even see the light?” he asked incredulously.

“Near as we can figure, we were all so busy trying to live that we missed the whole light show.”

“We?”

“It happens more often than you think.”

“Say, that was a lovely service, Jim!” A big man slapped him on the back as he passed. A slap that Jim felt! He could still feel!

There came a soft laugh behind him, he turned to see another woman ghostly in nature. “Startling isn’t it? To know that a ghost can feel? Even if it is just the touch of another ghost.” That said she wandered over to a tombstone a couple of spaces down. “Hey, Danny, the new guy is done with his bellowing, come on out!”

A child’s head popped up out of the ground, “are you sure? He was really mad!”

“I’m sure. He’s not so bad. Come on, let’s go watch the teenagers spook the live ones as they walk by!”

Danny and the woman wandered off in the direction of the cemetery gate.

“Hey Clyde, hurry up, the cards is gettin’ cold!” Jim looked in the direction of the voice to see three ghostly guys sitting around a transparent table.

The graveyard slowly came to life. Everywhere Jim looked there were glimmers of people long gone, yet going about their business.

Two ghostly figures glided by, holding hands, totally enthralled with each other; he wore a military uniform clearly from the days of the first world war and she wore a blue pantsuit looking to be from more recent times.

There were children climbing trees and running everywhere, proving even ghostly children can make a nuisance of themselves.

There were some young men, shirtless, having a game of tug-of-war while a group of young women cheered from the sidelines.

There were so many. Not as many as there were gravestones, but still more than one would think.

“Don’t worry Jim, you have plenty of time to get used to this place.”

He looked at her, the lovely lady perched on the gravestone, “May I ask your name?”

“Lilly.”

“Well, Lilly, I seem to be the only old codger here. Are you telling me I’m the only one of the senior set that missed the boat?”

Lilly laughed as she handed him her compact.

He looked at it stupidly.

She shoved it at him, “look in the mirror Jim.”

Jim did as he was told and found a twenty something Jim staring back at him, not the eighty something Jim that was buried today, a young and vibrant Jim. He stared; he has not seen that face for a very long time.

“When you die your soul takes on the appearance of your prime, except for the children of course.”

She took the compact back from him and slipped it into a transparent pocket. “Would you like a tour of your new home?”

“Yes, please,” he crooked his elbow.

She placed her hand on his arm and they glided down the sidewalk.

Being dead might not be so bad after all.
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